Wednesday 16 January 2013

Missing in Action! The Dead Sewing Blogs

Many people are ending 2012 by awarding well-deserved blogger awards to sewists who brighten our days with their creations and comments.

But I'm starting the Chinese New Year of the Snake with a sneaky shout-out to missing friends of the Dead Sewing Blogs. Are they shedding their skins for a new incarnation? Can we look forward to seeing them rise again?

It came to my mind when I realized that most of my favorites bloggers don't list links to me, boohoo! and woops! my own blog list is a little out of date and ??? where had some of my favorite bloggers gone?

Obviously, some of them were sucked into that happy void known as new motherhood. Here I count ladies I really looked to for some nice craftmanship and creativity. Lost...lost...somewhere in their designer nurseries are:

But how to explain some of the others (apart from Lindsay T at, who signed off with tremendous elegance and clarity,) just vanished into a frozen cyberzone of dresses from 2010 or 2011?

Like the disappearance of Birgitte at

Birgitte's recreations of runway items were equal to none. I fear her months of working on a Balenciaga jacket burned her out.

Or Eugenia in London at

Not even a little knit dress for us, Eugenia?

Please give us a sign of life. I am actually worried about you ladies. I lost 2009 myself to an illness that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. Hope you're well and thriving.

Wednesday 9 January 2013

New Year's Eve in Red, Burda's ruched-waist dress. Oct 2012 118A

Well, on New Year's Eve, the family jury was so far out on this one, they could have auditioned for a remake of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I gave them a choice between Burda's blue satin ruffled blouse under the Burda blue velvet kimono or this new number which a lot of Burdists in Russia made. It was very easy to sew, but  if my Eastern sisters were concluding in Russian, 'This dress doesn't look 'techno' as Burda thinks—it just looks hopelessly wrinkled and off-kilter,' I missed their warning, oh too late.

Here's how the afternoon of December 31 progressed as 2012 ticked away:

Daughter; Go with the blue kimono and blouse set. That red fabric is too thin and cheesy. That's a day dress, not for New Year's Eve.

I painted my nails red and tried the next jurist.

Husband: Go with the red dress but I can see your slip bumping through it. It looks lively. The blue kimono looks too loungey, not for a friends' festive night.

I added a red and gold necklace and tried Jurist Three.

Eldest son: Go with the blue. It matches your eyes. The red is okay. Actually the red goes with the necklace. Would you switch the jewelry for the blue? I don't know. What do you think of my waistcoat?

So I reckoned blue had won out, until...

Younger son: The blue velvet looks old, like something my Geneva violin teacher would've worn to dress up, way too spinstery. Go with the red. You look ten years younger in that.

Oh, ladies, if you knew that violin mistress, padding around town in flat orthopedic booties and a long black velvet skirt, thinking she looked artistic and bohemian, you'd know why I went out the door in red, knowing full well that I should wear a black tuxedo pants suit to spend New Year's Eve with among others, a nuclear weapons inspection diplomat of international standing just back from some powwow with the Russian foreign minister.

Yes, I went with the RED, cheesy viscose though it is, because hey, it's New Year's Eve when everybody wears boring, snoring, black. If New Year's Eve isn't cheesy, what is, right? And in the end the nuclear weapons diplomat took to the piano and we ended up singing cheesy old Broadway tunes without shame while my husband (remember his nine months of paralysis in 2011 in hospital?) danced with other lady guests. The hosts had knocked themselves out with all the Classic Foodstuffs of a French New Year's Eve. Great stuff. Worth celebrating. In red.

But for sewists facing the new year, Allison (THANKS FOR THE SHOUTOUT, ALLISON!) got this one beautifully right the first time out of the mag. On her advice, I cut the skirt on the straight, not the bias (Burda got that wrong.)

In the end, for me, this is a wonky design with good intentions. If you are pencil slim and use a better quality fabric, I bet it works as well as on their chic model above. But if you have a little bit of extra flesh on the hips or stomach, the draping adding bulk to your waist just looks like a mistake that caught on your Spanx as you came back from the ladies' room. I like the concept but would only remake it in a better quality woven after losing ten pounds. My choice of red knit was just too limp to pull off that cowl neckline as designed.